Patents filed for MicroLED, a technology widely considered for next-generation displays, doubled in South Korea in 2017.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), 120 patents in the technology were filed in 2017 compared to 67 in 2016. In 2015, 62 were filed; in 2014 this number was 36 and in 2008, only four were filed.
For the past 10 years, from 2008 to 2017, a total of 358 were filed. Local conglomerates filed 119, accounting for 33.2 percent, while foreign companies filed 116, making up 32.4 percent.
MicroLED technology places together micrometer-sized LED chips to form a display. Each chip acts as a pixel, allowing for a high-quality picture. It doesn't require a backlight, much like OLED, allowing it to be shaped into diverse form factors, but uses inorganic material so it lasts longer.
Apple is rumoured to be working on MicroLED to use for Apple Watches.
At this year's CES, Samsung showed off a modular TV, dubbed The Wall, that uses the technology. It is yet to be commercialised, although the South Korean tech giant said it will launch the MicroLED TV sometime this year.
KIPO said unlike OLED, in which Korean firms Samsung and LG were overwhelmingly leading, MicroLED competition was more a level playing field and local firms need to actively invest in the technology.
PREVIOUS AND RELATED COVERAGE
The South Korean government will pick two consortia for projects that will help fast-track the commercialisation of 10-gigabit (Gb) internet.
Huawei filed 2,398 patent applications with the European Patent Office in 2017 out of a total of 166,000 for the year.
Samsung Electronics is going its own way with Micro LED in TVs, leaving behind OLED. The move will be a true test of the legitimacy of its number one position, and could pay off handsomely if it succeeds.
The technology developed by South Korea's ETRI will have 5G network automatically steering users to Wi-Fi connection depending on traffic and quality of service.
The South Korean government recently announced plans to reduce a tax incentive for businesses investing in automation. While it aims to help human workers, it sends mixed signals.